Portraying the Nature of Corruption Using an Explorative Case Study Design

Authors


Gjalt de Graaf is an assistant professor of public administration and organization in the Department of Public Administration and Organization Science of the VU University Amsterdam and a member of the research group “Integrity of Governance.” Journals that have published his work include Administration & Society, Social Sciences & Medicine, Public Administration, Public Integrity, Journal of Business Ethics, Business Ethics: A European Review, Perspectives on European Politics and Society, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Public Administration Quarterly, and Health Policy.
E-mail: g.de.graaf@fsw.vu.nl

L. W. J. C. (Leo) Huberts is a professor of public administration and integrity of governance in the Department of Public Administration and Organization Science of the VU University Amsterdam and director of the research group “Integrity of Governance.” He is the editor of Corruption, Integrity and Law Enforcement (2002, with Cyrille Fijnaut), Ethics and Integrity of Governance: Perspectives across Frontiers (2008, with Carole L. Jurkiewicz and Jeroen Maesschalck), and Local Integrity Systems (2008, with Frank Anechiarico and Frédérique Six), as well as articles on ethics of public administration, corruption, and integrity institutions.
E-mail: lwjc.huberts@fsw.vu.nl

Abstract

What is the nature of corruption in Western democracies? To answer this research question, the authors study 10 Dutch corruption cases in depth, looking at confidential criminal files. The cases allow them to sketch a general profile of a corruption case. The authors offer nine propositions to portray the nature of corruption. They conclude that corruption usually takes place within enduring relationships, that the process of becoming corrupt can be characterized as a slippery slope, and that important motives for corruption, aside from material gain, include friendship or love, status, and the desire to impress others. The explorative multiple case study methodology helps to expand our understanding of the way in which officials become corrupt.

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